Green, White, Brown – Winter in the PNW (Gerbing, what I know)


My initial reason for heading down to Washington State yet again was really to get to Gerbing 

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New Liners are nice I have to admit

I would not ride without heated gear in the cold months

Gerbing in Olympia WA, now CLOSED for good

and to add to my heated gear collection so I can ride x country this month sometime soon I hope to drop my bike off at my folks in New York.  I added heated socks and pant liners plus a dual controller.  After I get my letter of compliance from BMW USA I can legally import my bike as the first part of my transition back to the States.  I have been living in Beautiful BC for almost 18 years now.  House is officially on the market, old job is in my past and now onto interviewing for new jobs in the New England area.

canada-us-tax-services

I will fly back and wait to be sworn in as a Canadian citizen and get everything else cleared up and then eventually leave for “good” I hope by March.

Now back to Gerbing, the store that I was at was located in Olympia, Washington. I am not going to go in-depth about the politics I heard about while visiting this store. What I can say is this I had the fortunate opportunity to chat with Tyler Gerbing, the grandson of the original founder about some of his thoughts and visions he had hoped for when the new “people” bought his father’s company and name.  I met Randy too.  He’s the guy who would fix all the gear you sent to the Washington store.  Both have been working for Gerbing for MANY MANY years.

Great gear, different company

In a nutshell, when Gerbing was bought by a non family member things appeared to be great on the outside.  MADE IN USA was their advertising campaign.  Been in the business for over 40 years the new company uses so we the public feel confident we are buying history is the BEST.  This is not to say Gerbing is not the best in the heated market.  I still love their gear and have learned over the years that when the gear “fails” it’s usually due to corrosion inside the connectors.  I am sure a weak point for anyone that makes this stuff.  I use a Q tip with some rust proof goop and clean them out every once in a while.  Seems to work well. I digress as always.

Pant liners not flattery but comfy

What we need to know as the public is that Gerbing has shut down its west coast outlet store with very short notice given to Tyler and Randy.  What we need to know is Tyler had some really decent business propositions for the east coast main factory.  They did not seem to want to listen to the last family member associated with this company.  I am sure there is more to the story but the bottom line it appears the west presence is gone, Tyler and Randy are both out of jobs and Gerbing is no longer even associated with the family who started it.  The jacket pads are made in the USA but all other accessories are still made all over the world.  So, MADE IN USA has been over blown in my opinion.

I know businesses are in it for the bottom line but after speaking to Tyler I truly felt badly for this very laid back and NICE guy that this company wouldn’t give him a lead title and let him have input.  He is a dedicated young man to this product that has his family name on it but seems to have been deflated a bit and probably will try something completely new to support himself.  His grandfather, Gordon has started a new heated company but because the Gerbing name was sold it’s now called GORDON’S HEATED clothing out of Seattle.  I asked if Tyler would go over to his families new business and he was not sure.

Politics within family and from those who bought the family in a way.  Either way I hope for the best when it comes to Randy’s future and of course Tyler’s.  Both are great guys and I really enjoyed speaking with Tyler.  Good luck to both companies.

I think if the public would like to see a west coast presence even if it’s for repairs write the CEO Tom and let the new company know Gerbing’s belongs in the PNW.  Just my 2 cents.

Gordon’s looks just like Gerbing gear,they have a cool heat controller and I am sure their line up will include many other accessories once they really get established.  Take a look at their website.  You can guarantee that Gerbing’s run this new brand and for now all their stuff is made in the PNW.

Love this concept

On every trip I take I often see something that catches my eye.  This car parked next to mine at a Starbucks did just that..caught my eye.  I am such an animal lover and my VET does not do home visits.  This concept Veterinary Hospice rocks.  If I could do this type of work, which I can’t.  Animals dying KILLS me, I would start this up wherever I lived.  This is an amazing type of service to have for those who want their pets to die at home.  LOVE IT!

This trip I took my car.  It barely has any KM’s on it because I ride my bike all the time I needed to break it in more.

Fiat 500L

This 4 cylinder, turbo charged 6 speed manual reminds me of my bike in a car version.  So full of torque  I find myself still stalling out of first gear.  It’s fast, decent on gas and most importantly for me FUN to drive.  So, I added 2010 KM’s/1250 miles on it over December 30th to January 1st 2015.  Handled great even when I did hit snowy roads with my all season tires.  Should have had snow tires as it’s the law here but roads were clear, sun was out so I took my chance.

I rode my bike in this same area back in November and it was WAY colder due to the polar vortex than it was when I hit all the passes across the Cascades.  It would have been a piece of cake to ride this time around as well.  Having said that it was nice having the car as my tour guide.

Here is the LINK for my POLAR VORTEX post

West Side of the Cascades and Stevens Pass

While driving on the west side of the mountain range it was warm and you can still see tons of greenery.  As I headed spontaneously through the mountains it went from green to white to brown in the desert.  I say spontaneously because I really was only on planning on heading to Gerbing for their last day open to the public on Dec 31st and head home.  Just like me, I deviated from the interstate and headed east and took the long way home.

Driving behind the deicing truck is nasty on the car.  I tried to stay back and tried many time to pass but couldn’t.  So for way too many miles I was stuck driving behind this truck as I watched my car constantly get covered in deicing fluid.

De-Icing Truck

I know they have an important job to do but what are the odds I get the privileged to drive behind one. 😉 I am including some video clips from my drive so once again those who are not from this area can see what I saw.

While going through Stevens Pass I got to see the sunset and beams of light shining on the snowy capped mountains.  Mountains and water excite me. I will miss living in BC where you can ski in the Spring and go to the beach on the same day.  I hope where I end up in the States, ideally Connecticut I will be able to get my fill of both.

Sunset

Steven’s Pass Ski Lodge

End of Day

Car view versus bike view

After I got through the pass I drove by Leavenworth, WA.  Again I was here in November.  It was FREEZING but my bike and I did fine.  I knew Leavenworth would be crazy busy.  I got there on New Years Eve and there was no way I was going to try to stay here.  Too much money and too many people.  I was right…check out my drive by video…

I made it to Wenatchee, WA for New Years Eve.

Heading out of Wenatchee

Although I was “alone” I got to face time with a special someone.  So, not really alone with today’s technology.  After a late start I got back on the road.  I thought I would head through Winthrop, WA and take RT 20 west.  When I got to Winthrop I found out every year the highway department closes Rt 20 no matter what around Thanksgiving due to avalanches.  I did not know this.  Got a coffee at the Rocking Horse Bakery, been here before, drove a round a bit and went back a bit and took Rt 20 east towards Canada.  Never been on Rt 20 east so it was well worth the detour.

Winthrop, WA

Like stepping back in time…Western Style

Winthrop, WA

Corner Store

As I was leaving Winthrop, know also for its crazy deer population I got to see this youngster.  His pack/herd were further away but this guy posed for me and look at that winter coast!  Amazing creature.

beautiful

Love old metal bridges

Leaving a touch of green and brown to eventually more white when I hit BC via the Orville Border Crossing.

Had to pull over at this little rest stop soon after I turned onto Rt 2o east.  Was peaceful and tranquil spot.

Getting more elevation

As I headed towards Osoyoos, BC which looks like this in the warmer months

Osoyoos, BC in late Spring

Looks like this in the winter.

Winter in the Interior

Ironically, the interior of Washington and BC are the hottest place in the summer and some of the coldest in winter.

I crossed over the border into BC at Orville and then went right to Allison’s pass through the Kootenay’s.

Orville, WA

Been awhile since I took a good pic of the BC welcome sign

BC

The Pass from eastern BC to western BC wasn’t bad.  Just some compact snow and tons of muddy slush.  My car got trashed coming through Allison’s pass but again I could have been on my bike easily.  Only got down to -5 C.

the pass could have been like this but wasn't

the pass could have been like this but wasn’t

What I saw

not bad at all

So all in all I got lucky again with the weather in these regions.  Sunny and dry.  Not that cold.  Glad I made the trip to Gerbing on their last day and glad I detoured and made this a 2 niter versus one.  I think I have traveled throughout BC and WA state pretty thoroughly by now.  I can honestly say on bike and car I have saturated my need to explore the PNW and BC before I move back east.  I even got to Alaska in 2011 so I really feel satisfied.

I feel complete with the amount of Fall trips I got to take and can leave this area knowing I have been almost everywhere that I could.

another sunset

I finally arrived home in the dark but got to see another sunset on my way home.  I will end with my French music driving video and I hope in the next 2 weeks I will be back on my bike, with my SPOT on for tracking as I head east across the USA. Leslie

8 Comments

  1. JRWooden says:

    Bummer that Gerbing is no longer Gerbing :-/
    Thanks for the great report!
    Making note to check out Gordon Gear 🙂

  2. RichardM says:

    I had my Gerbing gear repaired (sent to NC) and after paying $60, I ended up fixing it with parts from Radio Shack when I got it all back. They didn’t do anything…

    I even pointed out what was broken but they ignored my note. I’m not sure (or care anymore) what they believe they fixed but now it works. I use the stuff for over 6 months straight on a daily basis and I don’t think that it’s designed for that. I’ll keep fixing it when needed as the gear really works well when it works.

  3. Wonko the Sane says:

    I’ve been really disappointed in Gerbing’s website as it’s too much sizzle, not enough steak.

    Now I understand why. Thanks for the link to Gordon’s, having dealt with him many years ago, I won’t hesitate to buy from him again.

  4. Gary says:

    Leslie – thanks for the info update, I had no idea. Will try deal with Grandpa as my go-to.

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